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Poetry of the Taliban (Columbia/Hurst)

Poetry of the Taliban (Columbia/Hurst) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Most Taliban fighters are Pashtuns who cherish their vibrant poetic traditions, which mirror those of song. While much has been written about the Taliban's military tactics, media strategy, and harsh treatment of women, scholars often overlook this cultural and less overt — yet no less revealing — political practice.

The poems in this collection are meant to be recited and sung, and this is the manner in which they are enjoyed by the wider Pashtun public. From audiotapes traded in secret in Kandahar's bazaars and mp3s exchanged via bluetooth in Kabul to video files downloaded in Dubai and London, Taliban poetry transcends demographic and geographic boundaries. These poems, or ghazals, remind their listeners of the war against the Soviets in the 1980s, when similar rhetorical styles, poetic formulae, and tricks with meter inspired and united mujahideen combatants and non-combatants alike. The poems in this volume feature classics of the genre, which gained popularity during the 1980s and 1990s. It also contains a selection of recent odes and ghazals that reference the events of current conflicts. Ranging from nationalist paeans to richly symbolic dirges, these poems cover many themes and styles, intertwining the political with the aesthetic and celebrating life in the face of devastating loss. Two introductory essays culturally and historically contextualize these poems, relating their significance to Pashtun communities and their reflection of a culture inundated by thirty years of war. Faisal Devji, noted Taliban scholar, underscores the link between these poems and the Taliban's emotional and ethical character.

Product Details

Columbia University Press
Anthologies-Miscellaneous International Poetry
Van Linschoten, Alex Strick
Publication Date:

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Miscellaneous International Poetry
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » Anthologies
History and Social Science » Asia » India » Ancient and General
History and Social Science » World History » India

Poetry of the Taliban (Columbia/Hurst)
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Product details pages Columbia University Press - English 9780231704045 Reviews:
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